Ski Expedition Himalaya 2014
An extreme mountaineering project – ascending two 8000ers in just one week by fair means – that did not end up as planned. Basti Haag and Andrea Zambaldi lost their lives in the tragic avalanche accident on Shisha Pangma.
THE INITIAL PLAN
Extreme mountaineers Benedikt Böhm (36), Basti Haag (35) and Andrea Zambaldi (31) are once again off at another ski expedition in August-September 2014 in the Himalayas. The goal is to ski speed-style up both Shisha Pangma (8.013m) and Cho Oyu (8.201m) in just seven days. In addition, the stretch between the two base camps will be covered exclusively “by fair means” – i.e. on a mountain bike or in running shoes. The entire operation takes place at extremely high altitude and without supplemental oxygen or support. With this adventure, they enter a completely new dimension of speed mountaineering. Elias Lefas will cover photographically the entire 1,5 month long expedition at all stages of approach, acclimatisation and speed week.
THE AVALANCHE ACCIDENT ON SHISHA PANGMA
”In the afternoon of 23.09.2014 at 16:30, Benedikt Boehm (37) and Ueli Steck (38) started from Basecamp (5.600m) the speed ascent on Shisha Pangma 8013m. The plan was to reach the summit in the morning of the 24.09.2014, together with the team mates Sebastian Haag (36), who was starting from Camp 1 (6.300m) and Andrea Zambaldi (32) who started from Camp 2 (6.800m).
Benedikt and Ueli met Basti Haag at C1 (6.300m) as planned at 20:00 and paired up. At the same time Andrea Zambaldi left from C2 (6.800m) towards the summit. All climbers paired up below C3, at approx. 7.100m at 01:00 on 24.09.2014, reaching C3 (7.300m) at exactly 02:00.
Being the first climbers above C2, the team had to continuously break trail through rough conditions. At 06:50 the team was only one hundred vertical meters below the summit. The spirit and motivation was high, as the team was very well working together and moving at the same speed. They were sure reaching the summit at 08:00.
At 06:55 (Nepalese time) Sebastian and Andrea were caught in an avalanche at 7.900m, just 100m below the summit and were dragged for 600m vertical, over steep glaciers, into another section of the mountain.
Benedikt and Ueli immediately called basecamp for help and assistance, while descending to C3, the same route they were coming up, in order to traverse to the avalanche zone and search for the other two climbers. For over four hours they were trying to approach the avalanche zone from various sides, but turned around due to the fact that there was no access to the avalanche zone. Sebastian and Andrea disappeared with the avalanche and their bodies could not be found.”
Two good friends are lost – My deep sympathy is with the families, friends and colleagues of Andrea and Basti.
The people behind the scenes – thank you
Benedikt Böhm et al DYNAFIT | Basti Haag | Norbu Sherpa WILD YAK EXPEDITIONS | George Klaoudatos & Alekos Lamprakis KLAOUDATOS SKI | Giannis Damkalidis, Katerina Patsiou & Petros Chandrinos DAMKALIDIS – NIKON | Giorgos Drakos & Dimitris Vallis DRAKOS DIGITAL – GOPRO | Catherine Theocharidi APOSPORIS 1964 – SUUNTO | Nikos Delendas, Tatiana Dikastopoulou and Ilias Apostolou EUROLIFE | Alexandros Kekkis PROFIA | Georgia Galatianou & Marianna Terzidaki VODAFONE | Maria Verouchi HEWLETT-PACKARD | Paris Papavassiliou OCCHIO PAPAVASSILIOU | Haris Giannakidis | Tonia Machaira | Theoharis Sinifakoulis | Kostas Nikolaidis | Kostas Papageorgiou & Elias Kolovos EOS AMFISSAS | Giannis Koulelis ART PHOTOGRAPHY | Giorgos Zografos | Costis Gortzis | Johannes Plöchl | Spiros Soulis | Tolis & Simos Tsakiris ALPAMAYO PRO | Stelios Petroutsos PHYSIO KINETICS | Voula Arvanitaki COMBITRANS | George Exarhos & Vicky Meletopoulou FAIRWAYS TRAVEL | George Spinthakis | Kosmas Koumianos | Michael Aftias | Denni Katerelos | Pavlos Tsiantos | Panagiotis Kotronaros | Christina Liakaki GSK | Eleni Kagiouli | Fredrik Sträng | Mike Styllas | My entire family – Georgios, Eva, Theodora, Kimon et al – and my wife Kiki for supporting me throughout all the stages of this project.